By Thomas Mayhew
We were walking through the dark, eerie dungeon-like basement of an old hospital. I had read publications marking it as one of the most haunted establishments in America. Linda Vista Community Hospital, located in the rough neighborhood of East LA, is a place that’s been abandoned for over twenty years, and one particularly recognized for the paranormal presence residing within it. The ghost stories explaining its padlocked doors are attributed to the unusually high fatality rate in patients and doctor malpractice just prior to its closing in 1991.
Adventuring through abandoned buildings or urban exploring, has been my hobby for years. I look for buildings everywhere. Every story has always been as exciting as the last, that is, until Linda Vista. “Ghost Adventures,” seen on the Travel Channel, dedicated an entire episode to its 200,000 square feet. It is also the locstion of countless ﬁlm productions, including “Pearl Harbor” and the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
Fall Break brought me to southern California with my friend Joe McGannon who recently moved there. I had to see Linda Vista for myself. The two of us arrived on a Thursday at midday and were immediately approached by a groundskeeper who warned us to leave the perimeter. Not deterred so easily, we walked around the back, jumped a fence, climbed a staircase and pried open an unlocked door on the second ﬂoor — we were in with two disposable cameras in hand.
The corridors were long, but I made it a point to enter every room possible. As we walked from room to room, certain hostilities of the place broke in on me. The place had simply been abandoned in every sense of the word; dusty surgical tables, rusted bed frames, cloudy baby incubators, used latex gloves and patient ﬁles dating back to the 1930s littered every ﬂoor. We stumbled across an out-of-place chapel with over 25 pews, the emergency room, physical therapy corridor, president’s oﬃce, surgical suite and even the roof. But nothing, not even the faint screaming was as desolate, ﬁst clenching, dark or as cold as the corridor six feet beneath the ground in the basement dungeon. The only light in the area was our iPhone’s ﬂash. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able see my own feet. Turning a not-so-simple corner, an old wooden chair sat alone in a 20 x 20 foot room, facing straight at me. Cages housed old hospital objects like cribs, beds and ﬁles; two corridors were so long it was the imagination’s guess to what lay there. A boiler room was intact with cremating incinerators, which caused fear I never wish to feel again. Thankfully, we didn’t know what our pictures had captured until the next day.
What truly haunts this experience is a picture I took not from the inside, but on the outside of Linda Vista on our way into the building. On the top ﬂoor, ﬁrst window on the right, the unmistakable ﬁgure of a girl dressed in white in front of a black backdrop outside the window stood out in our photo. After contacting Paranormal EXP, expert investigators based out of LA, they emailed back with the following explanation. “The apparition of a little girl is often reported to be seen and heard at the hospital…this photo does appear to have a young girl on the top ﬂoor in white.” The doors of this ﬂoor were locked from every angle, and though we tried, there was unequivocally not a single way on that ﬂoor. There was nobody there. After this adventure and taking this picture myself, I have demolished every skeptical claim that ghosts and spirits do not exist. Decide for yourself based on the photographic proof.